Across Ontario, community mental health and addictions supports are vastly underfunded.
COVID-19 had made the mental health and addictions crisis in Ontario all the more prevalent, emphasizing the dire need for our government to re-think the way it funds and prioritizes mental health and addictions prevention and early intervention. Long-term funding is needed now to stabilize the sector and to ensure that the growing number of individuals facing mental health challenges and addictions receive the lifesaving care and support they need and deserve.
For instance, at Regeneration Community Services, whose employees are represented by CUPE Local 4891, government underfunding, including no new funding to support pay equity obligations, is prompting the employer to propose a three-year wage and benefit freeze that workers simply cannot afford. This underfunding may result in a service disruption at Regeneration Community Services if workers are forced to strike, leaving many clients without the supports they need and rely on.
Dedicated funding to community mental health and addictions supports produces substantial economic benefits and improves the capacity of our health care system. Providing accessible, safe, and community-based resources helps to mitigate reliance on more costly health care services and the criminal justice system and enhances quality of life for thousands of Ontarians.
It’s time for our government to invest in community mental health and addictions services and to develop a plan to address the increasing number of individuals who need support.